Approved: 16.08.2006

Rowena Comrie


Approved: 16.08.2006

 My concept of 'Painted Space' is inspired by the most liberating of all art movements. An art movement that places a high value of civilisation on the ability of art to liberate the imagination. When Andre Breton described his ‘surrealism’ as ‘beyond space and time’ he appeared to offer only a conundrum. Yet his desire for an art of continuous contradiction teases out a space in the imagination where time can be spent reflecting and responding to adventures in the unknown.

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    Artist Statement

     My concept of 'Painted Space' is inspired by the most liberating of all art movements. An art movement that places a high value of civilisation on the ability of art to liberate the imagination. When Andre Breton described his ‘surrealism’ as ‘beyond space and time’ he appeared to offer only a conundrum. Yet his desire for an art of continuous contradiction teases out a space in the imagination where time can be spent reflecting and responding to adventures in the unknown.

    Closed space, filled space, empty space, open space, space the final frontier. Spaces in which the imagination can shape, colour, decorate, fill, or transcend physical limits. The material literal space of chairs cars tv sofas flats houses planes is abandoned and replaced by the power of the mind guided by the eye.

    Abstract paintings encourage individual feelings of thrill, excitement, and delight.  They offer new ideas about dimensions of space, transcend the initial first look, reach out to a sensitised appreciation of the world. Drawing through colour and form, sensations of harmony and balance, each new space renews a visual fingertip sensitivity adding much more to life.

    My exhibition ‘Painted Space’ shared Breton’s aim for ‘adventures in the unknown’, a refreshing challenge.

    Concepts: I am a painter based in Scotland, my work ranges from large scale abstract colourfield painting to smaller figurative work. "Rowena unleashes a powerful emotional force in a positive life enhancing aesthetic. An aesthetic in painting that is informed by vibrating colour relationships and formal balancing. The tension between colours and shapes offers to the viewer both an immediate spontaneous response and considered intellectual reflection. Rowena was trained in abstract art by Mali Morris, Clyde Hopkins and, although at the end of his teaching career, Terry Frost in the Art Department of Reading University, graduating in 1982. Although she left Art School fully immersed in the aesthetic of abstract art, she has diversified and developed the best qualities of abstract painting into figurative and landscape painting ". (Aspect Prize Catalogue) A body of figurative work of contemporary history painting concerned with depicting aesthetically the use of civilian aircraft as potential weapons of terror has been shown recently at the Meffan Museum in Forfar, Scotland. The horror of the 9/11 hijacks and crashing of civilian passenger aircraft into the twin towers in New York made me realise the contemporary meaning of the sublime in art. The sublime is an 18th century idea but I don't use it to paint 18th century subjects. As an idea it is concerned with the use of art as a way of realising the human emotions of immense joy, fear and terror. However it is not my paintings role to act as an illustration of contemporary events but instead to comment critically by summarising and symbolising into, I hope a witty visualisation of terror. Influences Gender; human physical predicament, colour field, the sea Career path From 1978 to 1982 I studied Fine Art at the University of Reading. For 20 years I lived and worked as an artist in Aberdeen before moving to Glasgow in 2010, exhibiting widely throughout Britain. My work is held in many public and private collections. In 1999 I was awarded an AVAAS grant for a project based around Hogarth's ' Rake's Progress', which involved learning new techniques using digital technology. In 2002 I gave a lecture on this project at the John Soane's Museum in London. For two years I was secretary for the Aberdeen artist's collective, Limousine Bull. During this time we published a book, curated a number of exhibitions and launched a website. For ten years I acted as the tenant's representative for the WASPS studio building in Aberdeen. At various times I have taught Art at Aberdeen University and Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen. In 2005 I was awarded a further AVAAS award for work investigating piratical activity in the NE of Scotland during the 17thC and reinterpreting this in a contemporary critical manner resulting in a collaborative show at Duff House, Banff. In a voluntary capacity, from 2011 - 2014 I was privilged to take on the role of President of the Scottish Artists Union, the representative voice for artists in Scotland, and I have continued as Treasurer. Currently I serve on the Council of the Society of Scottish Artists and the Council of Paisley Art Institute.  I work from a WASPS studio in Glasgow's Barrowlands, a member of the thriving group of Gallowgate Artists.

    CV & Education

    CAREER DETAILS and Recent Exhibitions

    2023                  THE LAKE OF IMAGES:SURFACE TENSION  DETAIL Gallery, Edinburgh

    2022                   RADICALITIONISTS iota Unlimited studio gallery, Glasgow

    2021.                  STOP.START!  SouthBlock Project Space, Glasgow

    2020.                  Elected President of Paisley Art Institute

    2020                   Art & Design Library, Edinburgh COLOUR IN PLAY

    2019.                  Curator: SSA Touring Show 'Utopia: What's Yours?'

    2019                    Red Dot Miami Art Fair with D A C Design Gallery MORE IS MORE

    2019.                  Ivy Tech John Waldron, Bloomington, USA New Views of the Old World

    2019                   Back Door Gallery, Dalmuir, BY THE WATER

    2019                   Link Gallery, Dean Clough, Halifax, RESONANT

    2018                   iota Unlimited Studios, Glasgow, An Eyeful of Vincent

    2018                    Lodestone Residency at Bowling Canal Basin, Scotland

    2017 - 2019         Mentor for Thrive, Reading University Career Mentoring Service

    2017                     Mural Design for Stalled Spaces, Glasgow City Council

                                'Sherrif Lobey Dosser @ Bill's Tool Store'

    2017                     Summer Show KUNSTHUIS Gallery, North Yorkshire

    2016                      Elected Council Member for Society of Scottish Artists

    2016                      Elected Council Member for Paisley Art Institute

    2016                      Awarded the Paisley 2021 Bid Team Award, at PAI Show

    2016                       Published in 'The Healing Art of Pathology' College of American Pathologists

    2015                       Shortlisted for Shoosmiths Prize, Milton Keynes.

    2015                       Received Jamieson Award from Paisley Art Insititute.

    2013                       Interview by Jan Patience in the Herald ART supplement, 17 Aug 2013.

    2013                       Radio Interview on WFIU Indiana Public Media.

    2013                       Residency in Bloomington, Indiana USA.

    2014 - 2017            Treasurer for Scottish Artists Union

    2011-14                  President of Scottish Artists Union.

    2013                        Master Classes at House for an Art Lover, Glasgow.

    2012                        Professional Development Funding Award from Creative Scotland.

    2011                        Hope Scott Trust Award.

    2010                        Elected Professional Member of Society of Scottish Artists

    2010                        Short listed for Aspect Prize, and Relocated to Glasgow from Aberdeen.

    2009                        BBC TV Jonathon Meades: Off Kilter Titles Art Work.

    2009 & 10                 Aberdeenshire Council,  Aliens on the Beach, workshops.

    2009                         V&A Museum London & Action for Children, Art Matters workshops.

    2009                         Visiting Artist, Alford Primary School, Aberdeenshire

    2009 & 10                Guest Lecturer  ATLAC, University of Aberdeen, Faculty of Education.

    2008                         Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh Show Scotland workshop. 

    2008                         Easter workshops for 11 – 17 yr olds for Aberdeenshire Council.

    2007                         Scottish Arts Council Arts Across the Curriculum, Schools project .

    2006                         RSA Edinburgh Artist’s talk about work in Scottish Collectives.

    2000 & 2005            AVAAS Awards.

    2002                        John Soane’s Museum, gave lecture on Rake’s Progress  project.

    2000-2002                Secretary for Limousine Bull, Artists Collective, Aberdeen.

    2000-2005                Life Drawing Tutor at Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen.

    1998-1999                Art Tutor, Centre for Continuing Education, University of Aberdeen.

    1997-2015                Studio Tenants Representative, for W.A.S.P.S. (Artists Studios).

    1997-2001                Evening Class Art Tutor, Aberdeen City Council.

    1997                        Short listed for St Columba commission for Iona Abbey Trust

    1989                        Traveled in Spain studying art, and then painted full-time in Scotland.

    1985-1988               Employed at at Courtauld Institute, and Hambros Merchant Bank.

    1982                       Studio in Earls Court, London, Life model at Slade School of Art.

    Selected Solo Exhibitions

    2016   Painted Space,  Rendezvous Gallery Aberdeen

    2015   The Liberty of the Individual: Beyond Space and Time,  New Hall, Cambridge

    2014  SKY DIVING FROM THE CLOUDS EDGE, Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen.

    2013  Bloomington Residency, Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Centre, USA, Indiana 

    2013  TINY DIAMONDS IN THE COSMIC SANDS, House for an Art Lover,  Glasgow 

    2011  CLOSE HAUL, Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen 

    2011  POST MODERN SUBLIME, Tolbooth Art Centre, Kirkcudbright

    2011  SPRING LINE, Hughson Gallery, Glasgow

    2011  TERRAPLANES, The Arches, Glasgow

    2010  SUBLIME ELEVATIONS, Meffan Museum, Forfar

    2007  SUMBLIME INTENTION, Rendezvous Gallery, Aberdeen

    2001  LIFE'S A FUN BEACH, Aberdeen Maritime Museum, Aberdeen

    2000  A MILLION FIRSTS, A TRILLION SECONDS, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries

    1998  AESTHETIC - A DEFIANCE, Aberdeen City Art Gallery

    1996  JOURNEY, (New Scottish Art), DeMarco European Foundation, Edinburgh

     Selected Group Exhibitions

    2016 RSW Open at the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh

    2016 Identity Through Landscape, House for an Art Lover, Glasgow

    2015   Group 13 at the Smithy Gallery, Blanefield, Glasgow.

    2015   EMPIRE @ The Old Rope Works,

    2014   Winter Delights Tatha Gallery, Newport-on-Tay, Fife

    2014   One of One Gallery, Teddington, London

    2014    Editions Gallery, Indianapolis USA.

    2014    Towards Abstraction, Stables Gallery, Orleans House Gallery,Twickenham 

    2013     Society of Scottish Artists, Royal Scottish Academy Edinburgh.

    2013    Royal Glasgow Institute Annual Exhibition, Glasgow

    2011    Parallax Art Fair, La Galleria, Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall London

    2011   Le SM’art Art Fair, Aix-en-Provence France

    2011    Aspect Prize Exhibition, Fleming Gallery, 13 Berkeley St London W1J 8DU

    2010    'Salon', The Embassy, Roxburgh St. Edinburgh

    2009    'Place, Identity, Memory'  Artist Made Books, Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries

    2009   ' Impressions of Catterline 2', Montrose Museum, Montrose

    2009 -  Nairn Open Art Exhibition, Court House, Nairn

    2006 - Scottish Collective, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh 

    2005 - First Scottish Art Show, Royal Scottish Corporation, London

    2005 - No Prey - No Pay, Duff House Country Gallery, Banff, Scotland

    2005 - Painting is a Condradiction - Maybe, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh

    2004 - Open Print Exhibition, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol

    2000 - Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London

    2000 - Print Open, DCA, Dundee

    2000 - Today is Enough, Moma, Powys, Wales

    1999 - Terre De Creation, Espace Municipal, Clermont Ferrand, France

    1997 - "Art", Temporary, Self Run Gallery, , 446 Union Street, Aberdeen, Aberdeen

    1997 - Brush, Wood and Taffeta - Exploring the North, Marischal Museum, Aberdeen

    1996 - Landscape, Seascape, Cityscape, Still-life, touring Edinburgh Hospitals, Artlink,

    1996 - New Acquisitions, Aberdeen Art Gallery

    1995 - Uisge Beatha, Collins Gallery, University of Strathclyde,Glasgow Curated projects